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Kuki rebels to stick to pact spirit
- SoO accord expires today

Imphal, Nov. 21: The suspension of operation (SoO) agreement in 2005 between Kuki militant groups and the Centre will expire tomorrow.

However, the spirit and principles of the ground rules of the agreement will continue even after that.

“The ground rules will continue even after the expiry of the agreement tomorrow as it would be extended in a few days by the Centre, the process for which is on,” additional director-general (law and order) L.M. Khaute told The Telegraph today.

The 20 Kuki militant groups under two umbrella bodies of the Kuki National Organisation and United Peoples Front have been on a tripartite ceasefire agreement with the Centre and state government since August 2005. The militant groups are now staying in designated camps.

The last extension was for three months.

Khaute today met representatives of the two umbrella bodies and discussed the extension of the agreement further and assured them that the expiry would in no way stand in between the continuation of the ground rules. He also assured the groups that the agreement would be extended and the state government would pursue the matter with the Union home ministry so that it took place as soon as possible.

The Kuki militant groups, who are fighting for a separate Kuki state, have been pressing for the start of political dialogue, stating that seven years were enough time to start the process.

The Kuki State Demand Committee, which also has the same demand as the militant groups, is enforcing an indefinite blockade on all national and state highways in Manipur from Saturday, demanding the start of the political dialogue.

Deputy chief minister Gaikhangam yesterday held talks with the committee leaders and appealed to them to end the blockade, maintaining that the state government was pressing the Centre to start the talks.

The committee, however, refused to end the blockade, sticking to the ground that it would be lifted only when the Centre gives a written assurance and fix the date for start of the political dialogue.

Sources said the delegation of the Kuki militant groups assured the additional director-general of police that they would try their best to get the blockade lifted.